If you are passionate about sports then Barbados is the place for you.
The variety of sports and activities available on the island range from cricket to horse racing to all kinds of athletic, as well as non-athletic, sports.
Whether you like to actively take part or just want to be a spectator, there are a multitude of sports for you to choose from in Barbados.
Barbados Sports and Activities
Athletics is a well practiced sport in Barbados with Barbadian sprinter Obadele Thompson winning a bronze medal for the men’s 100 meters at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Barbados also boasts Andrea Blackett, who won a gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth games and holds the Commonwealth Games 400 meters hurdles record. The organising body for athletics in Barbados is The Amateur Athletics Association. Their programme covers all spheres of track and field and is recognised by the International Olympic Committee. Barbados National Stadium is the home of track and field, cycling and football. For the athletes there’s a 400 meters ultra modern rubberized eight-lane track. The Olympic sport of Triathlon is made up of 1.5 Km of swimming, 40 Km of cycling, and 10 Km of running, done consecutively. Barbados is ideal for triathlon training and racing all year round.
Catamaran Sailing is one of the most pleasurable ways to see the stunning bays of the west coast. Most cruises comprise of a stop to snorkel on a natural reef or a sunken ship, one for lunch and a lazy swim and one to swim with the turtles.
Cricket is a national pastime in Barbados and has produced some of the best known names in international cricket such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Rev. Wes Hall, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Clyde Walcott, Seymour Nurse, Charlie Griffith, Malcolm Marshall, Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge.
Cycling has also made Barbados famous through World Cycling Championship Silver Medalist, Barry Forde. He has won competitions in Germany, Australia, Latin America and Europe. He won the silver medal at the World Championships in 2005. He is also the reigning Match Sprint and Keirin champion at the 2005 Central American and Caribbean games. His father Colin Forde was a national champion representing Barbados. The National Stadium has a 500-meter velodrome, which has helped Barbados compete at the highest level.
Barbados Diving is superb all year round with two distinct barrier reefs, wreck dives, a good selection of well equipped and well trained dive centers, easy access boat diving and an excellent selection of marine creatures. Barbados has its own decompression chamber situated near Bridgetown and ten fully functional dive operators on the west and south coasts who offer certification courses ranging from one day resort type (instruction in the morning, diving in the afternoon) to the open water and specialty courses, including instructor courses.
Fencing is a growing sport in Barbados and since 2000 has had its own fencing association – The Barbados Fencing Club. The club has 25 members ranging from 16 – 60 in age.
Field Hockey has been played in Barbados since 1958 when the Barbados Men’s Hockey Association was founded. Now this body incorporates the Barbados Women’s Hockey Association and is known as the Barbados Hockey Federation. There are over 650 hockey players in Barbados and all of them participate in the national competition. One of the most famous contests is the Banks International Hockey Festival.
Fishing in Barbados is a sport, a hobby and for many locals a profession. You can expect to catch Blue Marlin, Wahoo, Dolphin Fish and Yellow Fish Tuna if you go deep sea fishing. You can charter a fishing boat, which usually costs around $100 USD an hour for up to 6 people and this includes all the fishing tackle, snacks and drinks.
Golf is a very popular sport in Barbados with some exceptional courses such as Sandy Lane Golf and Country Club, Royal Westmoreland Golf Club, The Barbados Golf Club and Rockley Golf & Country Club. These courses have attracted some of the world’s best golfers and have been host to some of the international tournaments such as the 2006 World Golf Championships – The Barbados World Cup, which was held in December 2006.
Gymnasiums and Health Clubs are well used on the island as the local population increase their focus on fitness and a healthy lifestyle. There are a variety of smaller as well as larger gyms, as well with numerous fitness studios and health clubs to cater to all of your fitness wants and needs.
Hiking is very popular on the island with regular hikes organised early morning and around sunset.
Horse Racing has been held at the Garrison Savannah since 1845 and is very much a part of Barbadian history. Barbados has home grown some excellent jockeys such as Patrick Husbands and is home to horse trainer Sir Michael Stoute. There are three racing seasons per year organised by The Barbados Turf Club, these meetings run from January to April; May to August and from October to December. For more information please visit our Horse Racing page from the link at the bottom of this page.
Horse Riding is a very popular pass time for visitors as you can ride for miles along white sandy beaches and enjoy the tranquility of the island from horseback. However equestrian sports are a major activity for locals in Barbados. There is an association – the Barbados Equestrian Association, which competes in the FEI World Dressage and FEI World Jumping Challenges.
Kite Surfing is now a huge sport in Barbados, this is the combination of surfing on a small board whilst flying a large kite. The only thing connecting the board and kite is the rider and it requires great upper body strength to keep both under control, it is very dangerous as the wind catches the kite and the rider leaves the water. It is only to be undertaken after careful instruction and supervision.
Motor Sport in Barbados in its many forms is the most popular spectator sport in the island, with two purpose-built venues, Bushy Park in St Philip (for circuit racing) and the Vaucluse Raceway in St Thomas (the only RallySprint track in the Americas, although currently non-operational). But it is Sol Rally Barbados each May which pulls the biggest crowds, lining the island’s roads, temporarily closed to public use, for the region’s biggest annual motor sport event.
Netball has its own stadium in Barbados, which was purpose built and has over the year’s hosted teams from the Caribbean and around the world. It can be found at the National Stadium.
Polo has been played in Barbados since the Barbados Polo Club was formed in 1884 and attracts players and spectators from around the world for international matches hosted here. One of the most famous playing fields is Holders on the west coast, but there have been new polo fields opened as the sport grows in popularity.
Road Tennis is indigenous to Barbados and is a cross between lawn and table tennis. It is played on the road as opposed to a table and follows the rules of table tennis. It is played with wooden racquets and a normal tennis ball and has been renamed Paddle Tennis in the USA.
Rugby has been played in Barbados since the early 1900’s when it was first introduced by the British Forces but it wasn’t until 1964 that the Barbados Rugby Football Union was formed and in 1995 became a member of the International Rugby Board (IRB).
Running falls under the athletics category but has so much activity that it deserves it’s own mention! Annually in December is the Run Barbados International Road Race Series. This is a 10 kilometer race, a marathon, and several other events including a walking race.
Sailing is a very popular sport in Barbados as it has perfect conditions with constant breezes courtesy of the southeasterly trade winds and calm waters for easy sailing.
The racing season of the Barbados Sailing Association starts in January and runs through until late July. The first big race is the annual Round the Island. Throughout the season there are many regattas, and every other weekend there is a race in Carlisle Bay that accumulates towards the “Round the Buoys” series, to be tallied at the end of the season. These same boats usually compete in regional regattas such as the annual Angostura Tobago Race Week.
Shooting has become popular in Barbados with a shooting range at the National Stadium that is run by the Barbados Rifle and Pistol Association. There is also Kendal Shooting Range in Carrington, St. Phillip. They can be contacted on (246) 437-5306 for details of clay, target, indoor and outdoor hand gun, archery and paint balling.
Squash is played regularly on the island and there are three main clubs who compete against each other. They are the Barbados Squash Club, Barbados Defence Force and Pleasant Place Squash teams. For further information on venues, times and exact dates please contact Craig Archer, Public Relations Coordinator. Alternatively you can call Mylon Wason, BSRA President or log on to www.squashbarbados.org.
Surfing is fantastic in Barbados and attracts world class surfers like Kelly Slater because of the swells that can be surfed in most parts of the island. For the professional surfer then Soup Bowl offers the best surfing conditions and the best waves are found between October and March. There are also some great spots for learning to surf so it is ideal for complete novices.
Tennis is undergoing a major comeback in Barbados and The Barbados Tennis Association is actively fund raising to finance local tennis teams in Barbados and is looking for both local and international sponsors to help in organizing domestic tournaments. They organize competitions throughout the year. Please see the Barbados Tennis Association’s website www.tennisbarbados.org for details as well as for the list of ranked players in all categories, which is updated on a regular basis.
Volleyball is played casually on the beach and at an international standard in Barbados. The Barbados Volleyball Association is the organizing body and offers a national championship for both men’s and women’s teams. Barbados has won the Caribbean volleyball Championship on several occasions both among the men and the women.
Water Sports are great in Barbados as the water is calm and warm. Maybe while in Barbados you might like to try water skiing, jet skis, banana boats, doughnuts, para sailing, hobie cat sailing or knee boarding.
Windsurfing is very popular in Barbados as we enjoy southeast trade winds, which maintain wind speeds of about twenty knots with constant sunshine and big waves so it really is ideal for this sport.
Barbados is one of the top ten windsurfing locations in the world and hosts two major international competitions, the Barbados Cup and the Professional Windsurfing Association’s Silk Cut Purple Wave Grand Prix.
For more detailed information about Barbados Sports you can click on the links below for each individual sport.
Author: Brett Callaghan
- Barbados Diving
- Barbados Gambling
- Barbados Golf
- Barbados Snorkeling Guide
- Car Racing and Motor Sports
- Competitive Sailing
- Field Hockey
- Fishing Charters
- Fitness and Wellbeing
- Gyms and Health Clubs
- Hike Barbados
- Horse Racing
- National Stadium
- Road Tennis
- Special Olympics Barbados
- Water Skiing
- Water sports
- Wildey Gymnasium
- Wind and Kite Surfing